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I only have Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. am I missing out by not having earlier editions?
Well now… That's surprisingly hard to answer. The fifth edition is still my favourite: little to nothing from Deluxe has made it into the game I play. On the other hand, I'm a middle-aged gamer and fifth is the edition that was around when I got into it, so there's bound to be some nostalgic affection there.

Fifth is a smaller, well-tested and proven version, whereas a number of things in Deluxe smack rather of being clever ideas that were thrown in during writing. The actual problems with fifth—such as warriors with a lot of armour sometimes being unable to hurt one another—are easily sorted. It's simpler, with fewer attributes, and it doesn't come with a large number of pages devoted to a fairly generic fantasy setting I'm never going to use. Fifth is also much closer to Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes, so crossovers are a doddle.

Some of the things people try to fix are features I actually like: I love that wizards use their strength to cast magic, leading to them becoming exhausted. Arguments that T&T's system for increasing attribute levels makes for wizards built like Schwarzenegger are technically correct, but for me that shows a lack of creative thinking by the GM (I prefer to think of the wizard's original strength as their physical lifting etc ability and keep track of increases to it as a sort of mental extension which does not normally transfer to day to day activities. However, they can tap into it and perform remarkable feats of strength—a sort of mystical martial arts chi energy, if you like—at the cost of immediately exhausting themselves). The simplicity of the rules and the incredible flexibility of Saving Rolls makes it trivially easy to come up with things on the fly. I love that there are only three character types, because they're defined by whether or how well they can use magic.

And the PDF is pretty cheap.

Remember though, it's a sentimental old gamer talking, about a game he's spent a lot of time with and made some good friends because of.
 
I only have Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. am I missing out by not having earlier editions?
I have several editions, and multiple copies of some. I agree with BigJackBrass BigJackBrass that 5th is the best edition in many ways.

However, unlike BigJackBrass BigJackBrass , who has forgotten more about T&T than I'll ever know, I like some of the additions from Deluxe, and other editions. I also like built-in settings because I'm a lazy SOB, and would rather not write my own. Plus, I like Trollworld.

Deluxe is a fine book. It's comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, and really the only book you ever need. Im glad to own it. That having been said, my own games are usually based on 5/5.5, with a smattering of house rules/rules from later editions, Deluxe included.

I'd recommend getting a copy of 5 or 5.5, because it's really where T&T peaked, IMO. It's also a lot easier to lug that 100 page paperback to your friends' houses than the Deluxe hardcover!

I think DT&T, while perfectly functional and worthwhile, tried to solve some "problems" with T&T that the majority of T&T fans didn't really see as problems. I like meat wizards.
 
I played 4th and 5th edition decades ago (back when they were the current editions) but honestly don't recall the differences between them and the latest version. I am curious if BigJackBrass BigJackBrass plays 5th edition of 5.5 edition. I'd noted that they released that in 2005 per Wiki. Did you find any of that tweaked 5th edition material useful? As an aside I can totally relate to Big Jacks point of view about the elegance of the simplicity of the older version. I feel the same way about GURPs 1st/2nd edition. (sigh)

 
I am curious if @
BigJackBrass
BigJackBrass plays 5th edition of 5.5 edition.
5th usually. I have 5.5, but my usual runabout is the old FBI UK boxed set of 5th. Some of the rules in 5.5 make it into my games, for example Spite Damage, but that's because they were originally in Sorcerer's Apprentice magazine and I picked them up from there.
 
Besides its longevity, 5th edition also benefitted from Stackpole and Danforth at the helm and a budget and vision that transformed FBI/Blade from lower tier publisher in terms of production quality to one of if not the gold standards to match the vast improvement in everything else. Sorcerer's Apprentice, Citybooks, MSPE...rising tides and all of that. The team at the top was that ultra rare confluence of talent, professionalism, decency and vision.
 
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If you like the swords and sorcery genre, I think the best “edition” of Tunnels & Trolls is Sarah Newton’s Lair of the Leopard Empresses. Instead of three character classes, you get a zillion of them, but they are more like a solid list of tweaks than the ridiculously bloated lists from some of D&D’s editions. And she has streamlined the spells into lists that the spellcasters have to choose from, in a way that is reminiscent of Rolemaster’s Spell Law / RuneQuest’s Cults of Prax.
 
I guess I'm off in my editions. I thought 5.5 was the Danforth edited version, but I guess that was 5th. In any case the edition she edited is by far the most easily understood to me. A poster child for the value of a good editor, and why more RPGs (particularly of 1970/80s vintage) could really use one.

As someone who thinks the .5 in 5th is newfangled and not needed, I'd be kinda sad to see the old buckets of dice, and the whole melee free for all aspects go, but yeah I think the combat needs an overhaul. I've often wondered if SR's could be the basis for the entire combat system?

Anyway, this is good news. As much as anything, I think the vibe and look of T&T is due for an update. If they stick with Deluxe I hope they at least consider a 5.5 based Classic line. Be interesting to see what they do with MSPI. Maybe they'll use it as a basis to add modern and sci fi stuff and roll it all into one with T&T for a more generic approach. Of course, the other way would be to have fantasy, modern, sci-fi editions. I'm also hopeful that T&T/MSPI could be used with the 2000AD properties they own. T&T and 2000AD should be a fun mix. Obviously, the ultimate dream is a T&T powered Hawk the Slayer TTRPG.

I'd particularly like to see a version of MSPE adapted to fantasy. I think the skills system in the game adds a lot of meat to the game that might attract players interested in a game a bit less abstract T&T. Not instead of, but more of an AD&D vs Basic arrangement.
 
I only have Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls. am I missing out by not having earlier editions?

As someone who has Deluxe and has previously owned 5.5, Mythical 6, 7.0, and 7.5, I'd say yes and no.

Deluxe is definitely the best presentation of the rules. Deluxe is the first time I ever had any idea how the "direct damage" from missile fire and TTYF was supposed to work while normal melee combat was going on. Deluxe has it's issues though. One issue I have with it is that halfway through the book it starts repeating itself, re-presenting the variants of the same material already covered earlier in the book.

I jumped on board with the 7.0 tin. Perhaps it's because of that which made me feel the 5.5 book was not very good at all. Mythical 6 had some interesting things, but honestly only when viewed in tandem with one of the other rulebooks.

The 7.5 box was also very good. It had some things which I wish Deluxe had kept. I semi-regret dumping my copy. It was a slightly more polished 7.0, which makes 7.0 obsolete.

Going back to any of them aren't really going to provide any more structure or clarity. My perception is that WINGING IT is pretty much the core of the T&T "system" such that it is. They mainly just have alternate takes on different minor things.

And if someone really wants even further stripped down T&T, there's always Monsters! Monsters! 2e.
 
My perception is that WINGING IT is pretty much the core of the T&T "system" such that it is.

Agree, and this is both an attraction and detriment of the system to me. It makes for a very flexible game, but I'm hard coded to expect clear direction from a games rules, so I struggle to get the most out of the rules as they are. I think this is a good part of why I generally like the MSPE rules better than T&T, MSPE has more structure to the rules.
 
I guess I'm off in my editions. I thought 5.5 was the Danforth edited version, but I guess that was 5th
No, you're not exactly wrong because 5.5 isn't exactly an edition…

It's basically a reprint of the 5th edition, but because a change of printer meant that there would be some blank pages Rick Loomis decided to add some extra stuff at the end. Most of it is reprinted material from sources like Sorcerer's Apprentice magazine, with a few bits added by Ken. Calling it 5.5 was just a gag, as D&D 3.5 was fairly new at the time.

Fundamentally 5th and 5.5 are the same edition, edited by Liz Danforth.
 
If you like the swords and sorcery genre, I think the best “edition” of Tunnels & Trolls is Sarah Newton’s Lair of the Leopard Empresses. Instead of three character classes, you get a zillion of them, but they are more like a solid list of tweaks than the ridiculously bloated lists from some of D&D’s editions. And she has streamlined the spells into lists that the spellcasters have to choose from, in a way that is reminiscent of Rolemaster’s Spell Law / RuneQuest’s Cults of Prax.
It’s nice to see Ms Newton designing again. I thought she wrote a very clear explanation of the strengths and evolution of T&T when Deluxe was published.

 
Besides its longevity, 5th edition also benefitted from Stackpole and Danforth at the helm and a budget and vision that transformed FBI/Blade from lower tier publisher in terms of production quality to one of if not the gold standards to match the vast improvement in everything else. Sorcerer's Apprentice, Citybooks, MSPE...rising tides and all of that. The team at the top was that ultra rare confluence of talent, professionalism, decency and vision.
This right here.

If you like the swords and sorcery genre, I think the best “edition” of Tunnels & Trolls is Sarah Newton’s Lair of the Leopard Empresses. Instead of three character classes, you get a zillion of them, but they are more like a solid list of tweaks than the ridiculously bloated lists from some of D&D’s editions. And she has streamlined the spells into lists that the spellcasters have to choose from, in a way that is reminiscent of Rolemaster’s Spell Law / RuneQuest’s Cults of Prax.
I find LotLE to be VERY impressive. I'm sure some of that new shiny will wear off, but this really is a great presentation of the T&T/M!M! rules. Such an awesomesetting.

I guess I'm off in my editions. I thought 5.5 was the Danforth edited version, but I guess that was 5th. In any case the edition she edited is by far the most easily understood to me. A poster child for the value of a good editor, and why more RPGs (particularly of 1970/80s vintage) could really use one.



I'd particularly like to see a version of MSPE adapted to fantasy. I think the skills system in the game adds a lot of meat to the game that might attract players interested in a game a bit less abstract T&T. Not instead of, but more of an AD&D vs Basic arrangement.
I do love Stackpole's Skill system. I think the unified system.in DT&T works a little better for T&T's laid back vibe, but Stackpole's MSPE is simply top notch.
 
This right here.


I find LotLE to be VERY impressive. I'm sure some of that new shiny will wear off, but this really is a great presentation of the T&T/M!M! rules. Such an awesomesetting.


I do love Stackpole's Skill system. I think the unified system.in DT&T works a little better for T&T's laid back vibe, but Stackpole's MSPE is simply top notch.
I shared your positive feedback with Michael Stackpole Gringnr Gringnr on twitter.
 
"Even when the topic isn't particularly fun."

LOL; I just love being talked to like I'm a five year old child.
 
D&D books are going to go up in price to $70? most recent book I bought for that price was Godsend Agenda, and that came with a PDF of the book and was 500 pages.

THAT is worth $70

a book half that size is not.
 
I could be persuaded to pay that much for an all-in-one book if it was good, but not when it's only part of what I need to run the game. If you pay full retail, that's $210 for the three core books.
 
I’d happily pay that or maybe twice that for a copy of Gristlegrim
 
I’d happily pay that or maybe twice that for a copy of Gristlegrim
Yep. I only have one because I was bidding on one of Ken's, and the other bidder contacted me to aks if I'd let him have it, and he's give me his old, non-Ken-St. Andre-signed copy for free. No way I could turn that down. I would have paid pretty stupid money for it, honestly.
 
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